Aeron Headrest Comparison – Engineered Now versus Atlas

 

Here’s a short evaluation with some photos to illustrate the difference between the two popular brands of headrests. They are the Atlas and the Engineered Now.
This should provide more insight to any buyers to understand some of the key differences and know what to look out for.

There are two versions for the Engineered Now headrests, the HR03 and HR04. The HR03 is recommended for people below 180cm and the HR04 cushion is 20% bigger and taller.

The following comparison is for the graphite version of the Remastered Aeron Chair only, do note that this is slightly different from the Classic Aeron version which was discontinued for a number of years.

 

Classic and remastered difference

 

Difference between Remastered and Classic Aerons

 Who are they?

Engineered Now had been around for almost a decade and was the first to release a fully adjustable mesh headrest for the Classic Aeron chairs. You can tell from the packaging, from how the headrests were designed. The founder is one who is very concern over the durability, function and the adjustability aspect of the headrest. This matches the direction of how Aerons were designed, adaptable to fit most people.

Atlas was released later by a couple of years but one of its founders was known to work for Herman Miller’s design. Recently, they released a version with “suspension mesh” which now makes them a worthy competitor for the Engineered Now. The mesh that is used on their headrest is from the same supplier that provides for the Aeron Chairs. Aesthetically, they should match very well since the material is the same.

 

Size difference

Engineered Now has two sizes. the HR03 and HR04 which is taller and bigger by about 20%. Do note again that in this review, we are using the remastered Aerons for comparison.

Atlas only has one size. The headrest is huge, even larger than the HR04.

 

Here are some comparison photos

Atlas compare HR03

Left Atlas, Right Engineered Now HR03. Frontal photo

 

Left Atlas, Right Engineered Now HR03. Size comparison

 

Atlas compare HR04

Left Atlas, Right Engineered Now HR04. Size comparison

 

HR04 compare HR03

Left Engineered Now HR04. Right HR03

Although it’s call a headrest. The better way to use these headrests is to rest your neck on them. So your neck and shoulder muscles could be properly relaxed while your head gets supported. It’s important that the material should be fully breathable, to eliminate the chance of trapped heat around the neck which can cause a lot of discomfort. Of course, users are free to support the back of their head if that’s what they prefer

 

Do note some users point out that the rear of the Atlas headrest may protrude out a bit when the depth is reduced to the maximum, and this protrusion can be a concern if there’s not much space behind the chair and gets knock onto things easily.

 

Support difference

There’s something unique here with Engineered Now. It’s hard to tell how they do it, but the HR03 mesh has a curve-in design.

The mesh can be slightly loose but this is probably intentional to allow the mesh to wrap around your neck instead of being too firm and create pressure points causing discomfort. This curve-in design locks your neck in position and reduces the chance of your head slipping off while taking a nap. The mesh is a little springy similar to the Atlas’s suspension mesh.

Some users who wear headphones remark that the curve design may hinder them from wearing the earpiece.

HR03 curve surface

 

For the HR04, the curve is more subtle.

HR04 surface

 

For Atlas, the cushion is huge and very wide but the surface is a little flatter. They call it the suspension mesh and it is a little springy which is quite similar to the HR03/HR04. On first look, there was some concern that the cushion on the Atlas is too large and may not fit well with people having a smaller frame. However, we haven’t heard of such complains though, probably because the suspension mesh conforms to the head’s shape and sink well into the right depth.

Overall, we don’t feel there is a lot of difference in comfort between the two headrests.

Atlas surface

 

Will the headrest blend well with my chair?

The Engineered Now headrest may not be using the same fabric used in the original Aeron chairs. Despite that, it’s hard to visually tell or feel a difference when installed on the chair.

As for the Atlas, the mesh is the same material used on the original Aeron Chairs, so it should provide a perfect match. It has a sleeker and simpler looking design, that makes it aesthetically more pleasing. In this aspect, the Atlas headrest should be the clear winner.

Both types of mesh used are durable and can dissipate heat well. It is unlikely that the user will create a tear by placing their head on the mesh.

 

Here are some illustration photos:

Both may look like in different colours but that’s mainly due to lighting, they are actually the same graphite colour.

Engineered Now

Atlas Headrest Remastered Aeron Carbon

Atlas

 

 

Which has better adjustability?

Both can adjust the depth, height and angle. We will say that the Engineered Now headrest should be more adjustable as it has more room to adjust for depth. The Engineered Now headrest also has an active free-flowing design that adjusts while the user tilts the chair.

Another big advantage for the Engineered Now headrest is it can be easier adjusted while the user remains seated. For the Atlas headrest, some adjustments may require the user to stand up and adjust first before sitting or get someone to help to adjust.

Also, note that the Atlas’s depth comes out a little more, so some users were concern that it might push the head too forward. It should not be a big issue as the Atlas mesh is springy and does sink its depth a little when you put your head on it.

Atlas cushion depth

Engineered Now HR03 cushion depth

Engineered Now HR04 cushion depth

Which is more durable?

It’s hard to tell but we will wage on Engineered Now headrest for now since they had been around for almost a decade and reports of them failing is rare or never heard of. Some complains that the tension might slip, but that can be easily tightened back using simple tools. Overall, we think they feel a little more solid in the gears and the pivoting points. We believe the issue of the tension slipping may also happen on the Atlas, it’s hard to tell which will be worse but we believe the Engineered One should fare a little better in overall durability.

As for workmanship, the Atlas fares better on the finishing. Atlas’s new mesh headrest hasn’t been around for long but we believe that they are also well made.

Both are using Nylon frame, Nylon is a very hard material that doesn’t easily corrode and has some form of self-lubricating properties. The chassis of your Aeron chair is mainly made of Nylon.

Which is easier to install?

Both are rather easy to install.

Installation for the Engineered Now is easier because there is only one screw to tighten.
For the Atlas, there are a total of 4 screws to be installed. We don’t think it’s a big matter since it should not take you an extra 5 minutes to do that.

 

Summary

We will grade them with the following.

 

Engineered Now

Comfort: ★★★★★

Adjustability: ★★★★★

Ergonomics : ★★★★★

Design: ★★★★

Material: ★★★★

 

Atlas

Comfort: ★★★★★

Adjustability: ★★★★

Ergonomics : ★★★★

Design: ★★★★★

Material: ★★★★★

 

Overall, both are the best headrests available for the Aeron chair. Each with their own strength and weaknesses and which is better really depends on what you deem as more important. The Engineered Now headrest fare slightly better in adjustability and ergonomics. While the Atlas fare slightly better in design and material.

 

You can find more information on the product’s individual page:

Engineered Now HR03 Headrest

Engineered Now HR04 Headrest

Atlas Headrest